CONTEST – Be My Fan, Okay?

So many of you have been writing me to ask what I’ve been up to lately. Am I writing a third book? Yes. But can I share what it’s about? No, not yet. Am I planning to go to college next year? Yes, I think so. Do I know what college I’m going to? No, not yet. (Anyone want to offer me a full scholarship? Ha. Ha.)

I’ve been trying to stay hyped to keep writing because #1: I love the new story I’m working on. But also because #2: I love my fans and I want to give you guys something new to read soon!

So one way I’ve been trying to stay “in the mood” is by going through and reading all the old blog posts/reviews/comments everyone left on the internet when my first two books came out. I was blown away all over again reading through everyone’s thoughts and comments and general gushiness. You made me blush two years later. Yay.

Anyway, after being reminded again of what great readers I have, I decided to do a fun little contest (I’ve never done a contest before) for my fans so you guys can show your love for these characters and I can show my thankfulness for your support! 

Here’s what you can do:

ALL OF MY BLOG READERS ARE ENCOURAGED TO CREATE SOMETHING BASED ON ONE OF MY BOOKS. IT CAN BE A DRAWING OF ONE OF MY CHARACTERS, A POEM BASED ON YOUR FAVORITE SCENE, A PIECE OF FAN FICTION, A YOUTUBE VIDEO, A RECORDED SONG, A PIECE OF ART, A PHOTOGRAPH, A HANDMADE DRESS — ANYTHING! BE CREATIVE!

The only requirement is that it has to be based off of either Interrupted or Chasing Jupiter.

In return, I’ll choose three winners. Second and third place winners will both receive autographed sets of my books and a handwritten note from me.

And the first place winner will receive an autographed book set, handwritten note, AND $50 Barnes and Noble giftcard.

(WHAT?? I know, I want it too)

The contest starts today and will last until the end of the month. Then I’ll choose a few friends to help me choose the winners. To send in your entry, email me at rachelcokerwrites(at)hotmail(dot)com with the subject line “Contest”. Attach any photos, documents, or videos to your email and take a minute to explain what your entry is about. I’ll email you back to let you know when I’ve received it. If you would like to physically mail me your entry (which would be, like, so cool), then email and ask for my mailing address and I can give it to you.

Winners will be announced the first week of November. So dig back into those books, get inspired, and let the creative juices flow! I honestly can’t wait to see what you come up with.

{Contest open to all ages and all countries. Contest will end at 12:00 AM EST on November 1, 2014. Winners will be chosen based on creativity, talent, and relevancy to my stories. Winners’ first names and winning entries will be published on my blog.}

-Rachel

Giveaway to Giveback: Ayu Sewing Project

Lately my ideas about fashion and style have really been changing. I used to be a “more is more” kind of person. But since coming home from Asia, I can definitely see a drastic change in the way I get dressed. After living for four months with only a handful of outfits, I learned to define what I love. To live on less. To choose carefully and wear things that are important to you.

I came home and gave away four trashbags full of stuff. And as my tastes change and my style evolves, I find myself wanting to spend money on things that won’t benefit just me.

That’s why I got so excited when I discovered Ayu Sewing Project.

A friend pointed me to this project, based out of Indonesia (where I’ve BEEN–isn’t that crazy??), that empowers women to provide for their families while staying at home and enjoying them. I read the stories on the website, about these women with their warm, soft hands that touch cheeks and pour milk and sew beads and lace around other fingers. I could scroll down and see every face. Read every story. As a story-oriented person, my heart tightened and then overspilled with love for these women in homes eight thousand miles from mine. I wanted to see life like they did. What would it be like to live on less than $120 a month? To keep the children home from school because you couldn’t afford to pay for a test? To go to a stranger for money because your baby was crying and you didn’t know where the next bottle of milk would come from?

I read the stories translated from their own handwriting and immediately went to my wallet and pulled out a huge chunk of my gift budget for the year. I then proceeded to order seven or eight scarves. Two for me, two for each of my sisters, colors and patterns for my mom and my best friend and even women at church. I didn’t know what to expect when I got them and opened the packaging, but I wanted to cry at the gifts in my hands. Photographs of the women who had held this fabric in their hands. Beautiful scarves stitched in the front rooms of brightly painted village homes, while kids played hide and seek in the alleys outside.

I knew this was something I wanted to share on the blog. So I contacted the lovely people behind the Ayu Sewing Project and asked if they’d be willing to do a giveaway for my blog. They emailed me back almost immediately and offered to send THREE scarves to my lovely readers! But don’t just sign up for a free scarf, you guys. Go to the site. Buy one for yourself. Buy one for your mom. Buy ones for your friends and sisters.

We spend so much money and time and effort looking nice. But for what eternal value? Whose lives are changed by the Target sweater you’re wearing? What will your Old Navy boots mean to someone else in fifteen years?

This is important to me. This is a way–a small way, almost tiny enough to cup in the palm of my hand, but a way nonetheless–to make a difference. To invest in a person, not a company. To place money in the hands of women and families with lives and futures.

Ayu is the Javanese word for beautiful. Not just because of the rich batik silk. Not because of the white smiles against tan faces. Not even because of the lovely concept of empowering women in another country.

This is beautiful because God filters all this through His hands. Because something as simple as a strip of silk wrapped around your neck can put milk in a bottle and pencil lead on a test paper. We give not because of what we think we can do, but because of what we know He is capable of doing. It’s beautiful and grand and humbling that the dollars we skim off the top of our paychecks can fill the gaps in someone else’s life.

I’m excited to give away THREE Ayu scarves this week. My family and friends are already enjoying theirs, and I hope you’ll get your hands on a few scarves as well.

HOW TO ENTER:

1. Comment! Tell me what giving back means in your life.

2. Additional Entry: Like both Rachel Coker and Ayu Sewing Project on Facebook

3. Additional Entry: Share my image about the giveaway on Facebook

3. Additional Entry: Pin any of these images onto Pinterest with a description linking back to the giveaway

4. Additional Entry: Go to Instagram and share my image. Be sure to tag me in your description!

5. Additional Entry: Tweet about the giveaway! Be sure to tag me @rachelcoker3

 

Comment after you’ve done each of these things so I know how many times you’ve entered! (Note: The three scarves pictured are NOT the three scarves included in the giveaway. When the winners are announced, I will email photos of the three scarves I have and you can choose which scarf you’d like on a first-to-choose basis)

Once again, please don’t let your involvement end here. Go to www.ayusewingproject.org and order a scarf or two. Wear them proudly this fall. Give them as Christmas gifts. Use them as a conversation starter to explain why you care about people and want to love the way God does. They will take 4-5 weeks to ship from Indonesia, so be sure to order them soon!

The giveaway will be open now until Friday at midnight, then I’ll announce the winners on Saturday!

-Rachel

BIRTHDAY GIVEAWAY!!!

This is the biggest giveaway I have EVER DONE! You all have seen me give away a book, or two books, or, on some radical occasions, two books and a bookmark, but never before have I given away EIGHTEEN books!

But this is no ordinary day. Today marks the start of my birth-week. I really think it should become a national holiday. The birth week of Rachel Coker! That’s right. Saturday is my BIRTHDAY! And not just any birthday. My eighteenth birthday. I’ll be a legal adult, ya’ll. Exciting stuff is happening.

So in honor of my birthday, and out of the love in my heart for each one of you, I wanted to do a huge giveaway this week! To show my appreciation for all your kind, encouraging words and support, I wanted to give away eighteen of my favorite books to one lucky winner! These are all books that have inspired, encouraged, and motivated me to become the person and author that I am! Some are by friends (or myself), some by role models, some by classic authors, and some just for fun!

I tried my best to make this as gender and age-friendly as possible. There are lots of children’s books that inspired me in my childhood, as well as great classics that I still enjoy to this day! There are inspiring books on faith and the Christian life, as well as great books on writing and what it means to be an author. Hopefully this is a stash that will help you not only to build your own library, but to further develop your love of the written word!

So here’s how to win.

Comment below with a word of wisdom or advice for me on my eighteenth birthday. You’ve already heard so much “advice” from me, that it’s time for me to get some back! Once you comment, you will immediately be entered in the giveaway.

If you want extra entries, you can do the following:

(And also be sure to use words like “AWESOME GIVEAWAY” and “I can’t believe she’s giving away EIGHTEEN books!”) Make sure you link back to the blog or your tweet doesn’t count.

Follow me on Twitter (@RachelCoker3) and then tweet about the giveaway! Be sure to comment again so that I know you tweeted. (And also be sure to use words like “AWESOME GIVEAWAY” and “I can’t believe she’s giving away EIGHTEEN books!”) Make sure you link back to the blog or your tweet doesn’t count.

Like me on Facebook and share my giveaway post! (and then comment below)

Pin one of these photos on Pinterest, and make sure you comment something about the giveaway! (and then comment below)

Blog about the giveaway! (and then comment below)

There is a maximum of five entries, but feel free to do all of the above! I’d love for you to spread some love about my blog, and hopefully encourage some of your friends to come check it out and take part!

So Happy Birthday to me! And enjoy your big gift on my special day!

Giveaway will be open until Friday, September 20th at 10 PM EST. Giveaway winner will be announced on Saturday, September 21st (my birthday!) Giveaway is open to U.S. residents only (so sorry, overseas readers! I will do another giveaway for you all very soon, I promise) of all ages.

Books: “Interrupted” by Rachel Coker (signed!), “Chasing Jupiter” by Rachel Coker (signed!), “Go Teen Writers” by Stephanie Morrill and Jill Williamson (signed!), “The Healer’s Apprentice” by Melanie Dickerson, “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voskamp, “The Air We Breathe” by Christa Parrish, “A Novel in a Year” by Louise Doughty (not pictured), “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Humlity” by C.J. Mahaney, “Selected Poems” by Emily Dickinson, “Kira-Kira” by Cynthia Kadohata, “Cheaper by the Dozen” by Frank B. Gilbreth, “And Then There Were None” by Agatha Christie, “Radical” by David Platt, “Bridge to Terabithia” by Katherine Paterson, “Peter and Wendy” by J. M. Barrie, “Bird by Bird” by Anne Lamott, and “Swiss Family Robinson” by Johann David Wyss.